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Breakpoint 2023: Power Talk with Tarun Chitra, CEO & Founder of Gauntlet

Tarun Chitra discusses dynamic fee optimization in blockchains, focusing on Solana's unique potential in fee markets.

The notes below are AI generated and may not be 100% accurate. Watch the video to be sure!


In a significant Power Talk at Breakpoint 2023, Tarun Chitra, the CEO and founder of Gauntlet, delved into the intricacies of blockchain fee markets, highlighting the challenges and inefficiencies of fixed-fee models. He proposed a dynamic approach to optimizing fees, leveraging multi-dimensional pricing structures that adjust based on resource usage, such as compute and storage demands. Chitra emphasized Solana's network as a prime candidate for implementing and benefiting from such dynamic fee structures due to its inherent design advantages over other blockchains like Ethereum. The talk outlined an economic and mathematical framework for blockchain networks to dynamically optimize fees, which could lead to better user experience and network efficiency.

Key Points:

The Importance of Dynamic Fee Markets

Tarun Chitra underlined that traditional fixed-fee markets are insufficient because they cannot adequately balance the price of compute versus storage resources. By contrast, a dynamic fee market can adjust fees according to real-time network demand, thereby optimizing network resource allocation. He explained that Solana's network architecture inherently supports dynamic fee structures due to the linkage between execution parallelism and transaction processing fees.

Solana's Unique Position

Chitra described Solana as an excellent test case for developing and deploying dynamic fee markets. He pointed out that Solana's multi-dimensional fee system uniquely accommodates different resources, allowing validators to adjust fees based on varying services, such as proof generation. He also discussed Solana's potential for implementing multi-proposer systems for improved censorship resistance, highlighting the network's adaptability to evolving fee market strategies.

Mathematical and Economic Framework

The talk presented a mathematical model involving vectors and matrices to represent resource consumption by transactions and blocks, aiming to minimize the deviation from target resource consumption. This model allows the network to update prices dynamically based on demand, ensuring validators are compensated fairly while users enjoy stable fee rates. Chitra explained that this model grants a basis for a blockchain client, like the one used by Solana, to determine and adjust transaction fees automatically every block.

User Experience and Fairness

Illustrating the benefits of multi-dimensional fee markets through simulations, Chitra showed that they could significantly reduce fee variance for users, leading to a better user experience (UX). He also touched on fairness in fee allocation across different programs, suggesting that fees should be influenced by how frequently a program affects network resources. This ties back to the overarching theme of optimizing fee markets to the advantage of both users and validators.

Facts + Figures

  • Tarun Chitra is the CEO and founder of Gauntlet, a simulation platform for blockchain ecosystems.
  • Since 2019, Chitra and his team have been exploring localized fee markets and their optimization.
  • The presentation includes joint work with Bain, focusing on potential improvements in fee markets.
  • Solana's network can accommodate multiple dimensions of fees due to its distinct resource allocation for transactions.
  • Chitra demonstrates a mathematical framework using vectors, matrices, and linear resource consumption to model the behavior of dynamic fees.
  • The aim is to optimize network resource consumption against a target, allowing for adjustments based on actual demands.
  • In his simulation, multi-dimensional fees provided lower variance in user costs compared to one-dimensional fees, especially in response to demand spikes.
  • The presentation suggests a per-program approach to fee adjustment within Solana's network, considering resource utilization and re-entry frequency.

Top quotes

  • "One thing to think about in the future is how do you optimize those, how do you make those better over time."
  • "Orthogonal resources should be priced separately."
  • "In Solana, there is this amazing landscape to take advantage of these local fee markets."
  • "Multi-dimensional fees are sort of respond with much lower variance for the end user."

Questions Answered

What is a dynamic fee market in the context of blockchains?

A dynamic fee market in blockchains is a system in which transaction fees adjust in real-time based on network demand and resource utilization. Unlike fixed-fee models, dynamic fees aim to balance computing and storage costs efficiently, enhancing the network's optimization and providing a stable user experience.

Why is Solana an ideal blockchain for implementing dynamic fee markets?

Solana is particularly suited for dynamic fee markets due to its multi-dimensional fee system and the close coupling between execution parallelism and program execution fees. This structure facilitates a range of unique fee markets within its ecosystem, potentially providing superior censorship resistance and resource allocation customization.

How does Tarun Chitra's mathematical model for dynamic fees work?

Tarun Chitra's model involves a mathematical framework where the resource consumption of transactions and blocks is represented by vectors and matrices. The model seeks to minimize the variability between actual resource usage and target consumption, using matrix multiplication and optimization techniques to adjust fees in real-time according to network load and demand.

What advantages do dynamic fee markets offer over fixed fees?

Dynamic fee markets offer more stability and predictability for users by adjusting transaction costs based on current network conditions, leading to less variance in fee pricing. They optimize the utilization of network resources, effectively responding to spikes in demand and ensuring fair compensation for validators.

Can implementing dynamic fees enhance the user experience on Solana?

Yes, implementing dynamic fees can significantly enhance the user experience on Solana by providing a more predictable and stable fee environment. Multi-dimensional fees can respond appropriately to changing network demands, reducing the frequency and severity of transaction cost fluctuations, ideally leading to a more user-friendly platform.